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FTL, LTL, and PTL Explained

Shipping large quantities of products may impose a real logistic challenge for many sellers with all the options available. Knowing how to take advantage of different types of shipments is vital to on-time deliveries and more profit. Whether you are shipping a few boxes or a full truck, you should get familiar with these three most common types of shipping to find the best solution that suits your needs.

Differences between FTL, LTL and PTL


The name speaks for itself, and it is used here mainly to help you better understand LTL and PTL shipping. It is a shipment that utilizes the entire truck dedicated for this assignment.

It is the most expensive option and the most efficient of all three. The truck goes from point A to B without any other pickups, so it takes less time, and items are not moved around until they reach their destination.


LTL means that many shipments from different entities are combined to fill the entire truck.

It is the least expensive option recommended for small businesses that need to ship regularly but cannot fill the whole truck. On the other hand, it is the most time-consuming and damage-sensitive solution. It requires much more handling than FTL or PTL. There might be several stops for pickups and unloading along the way which means that your products will be moved and can be damaged.


PTL is a trade-off between FTL and LTL. In this option, the same truck which picks up the shipment is delivering it, but other shipments are added on the way.

Typically you can use that option for at least 4+ pallets. There is less handling and a lower risk of damage, but it also requires several stops, so transit time will be higher than FTL but should be lower than LTL.

LTL or PTL, which one to choose?

The answer to this question depends on what kind of products and how many units you are shipping. If you are a small seller and your products are not susceptible to damage, LTL might be a better solution. On the other hand, PTL is typically a faster option. In terms of pricing, there aren’t significant differences between the two methods.

If you have any further questions regarding this subject, please submit them in the comments section below or contact us.

About the Author


Tom is a senior customer support representative at GeekSeller with over half a decade of experience in the e-commerce space. Tom enjoys biking, hiking, and painting.

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